“Services no longer required”

The end of the war meant one priosn officer had a very short time in the army.

14th Novr 1918

Warder Northam

This officer who was mobilized on the 5th instant was yesterday discharged from the Army, “services no longer required”, and he returned to Prison duties today. His Record of Service and Medical History were returned to the Head Office on the 6th instant – also the Exemption Card.

C M Morgan
Governor

[to] The Commissioners

Reading Prison [Place of Internment] letter book (P/RP1/8/2/1)

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7000 from 1914 have gone back home

As the war approached its end, some of the soldiers who had been fighting the longest had already been discharged or sent home on leave.

4 November 1918

Soldiers came in afternoon. Quite a nice set. Got here rather late, so hurried up to see house as getting dark. They stayed till past 7 o’clock. One told me 7000 from 1914 had gone back home. Others 90 days rest behind line.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/9)

Special courses for discharged soldiers who wish to enter the teaching profession

Newbury welcomed former soldiers to the teaching profession.

Friday, September 27th, 1918

Teachers on Military Service

The Sub-committee much regret to report that Lieut. M. Rose, Hants Regiment, has died as a result of wounds received in action in France. Mr Rose was on the staff of the Newbury Boys’ Council School, and left to enter the army in June 1916. This school has now lost two of its masters in the war.

Training of Discharged Soldiers

A circular letter was received from the Board of Education, with reference to the establishment of special courses for discharged soldiers who wish to enter the teaching profession, and suggesting that applicants from each area should be medically examined by the School Medical Officer. The Sub-committee were informed that the Committeee’s School Medical Officer (Dr R. Hickman) had kindly offered to medically examine any candidate from this area without payment of the usual fee.

Finance, School Management and General Purposes Sub-committee of the Education Committee of Newbury Borough Council: minutes (N/AC1/2/9)

Land for ex-service men

Berkshire County Council’s Smallholdings and Allotments Committee investigated whether ex-soldiers might take up farming in the area.

12 October 1918

Provision of land for ex-service men
A circular letter, dated the 16 September 1918, has been received from the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries, calling attention to the provisions of the Small Holdings Colonies (Amendment) Act, 1918, the object of which is to provide land for ex-service men. The Board suggest – among other things – that a preliminary inquiry be made amongst the soldiers working on farms in the county as to whether they are desirous of adopting agriculture in the County of Berks or elsewhere as a means of livelihood after the war.

This suggestion has been adopted in order that the Committee may ascertain the demand for land in the County.

Report of BCC Smallholdings and Allotments Committee, 12 October 1918 (C/CL1/21)

“Surely he has earned his discharge!”

oMaidenhead men had mixed fortunes, but some had returned home after severe wounds.

At the time of writing, Reginald Hill is in Ireland, waiting for decision of his medical board concerning his future. Surely he has earned his discharge! John Bolton, Percy Lewis, Harry Baldwin, Ernest Mead, and George Frampton, have been home on leave, all in sound health and good spirits. Ernest Bristow is at the Red Cross Hospital, Marlow Road, suffering from a slight set-back in the healing process. David Dalgliesh is expecting to return any day to active service in France. Ernest Saunders has been discharged. He received an injury to his skull in some blasting operations in Italy. Alex Edwards is out of hospital, and is back to his old post.

Maidenhead Congregational Church magazine, September 1918 (D/N33/12/1/5)

Income from the treatment of discharged soldiers has been very large

Newbury District Hospital was profitting from treating discharged soldiers.

The Chairman’s Statement

The Chairman said with regard to the report and the accounts, he would make a few remarks only. They would have seen from the report that the character of the Hospital’s work was very similar to that of the previous year. For the first time they had a small out-patients department for the purpose of treating discharged soldiers who required some special treatment such as massage. Their income from the treatment of soldiers had been very large, but it was not only from the military that their income had increased. Every single item of the ordinary income showed an increase during the year.

The Annual Report

The thirty-third annual report was as follows:-

The past year, 1917, has been a very important one for the hospital. The figures, giving the number of civilian patients admitted, show a decline compared to the previous year by 34, whilst there is an increase of 27 in the number of soldiers admitted. This is due to the extra accommodation of 24 beds in the new Annexe constructed during the early spring. The Benham Annexe was erected, at the very urgent request of the War Office, at a cost of £386.

Many very useful gifts have been received during the past year. The local branch of the British Red Cross Society have provided useful articles for the new ward, amounting to over £50, as well as defraying the cost of entertainments. Mr. Fairhurst and the late Mr. Vollar presented a large circulating electric fan for the Benham Ward. Mr. Porter, of Bartholomew-street, did the entire wiring gratuitously, and Miss Wasey gave the sun blinds. Sir R. V. Sutton kindly lent all the beds, bedding and furniture for the same ward. The Newbury War Hospital Supply Depot have again supplied a large quantity of bandages, swabs, shirts, and dressing gowns, all of which were much appreciated.

Miss Wasey organised a Pound Day, which was most successful. Many entertainments were got up by various ladies in the town and district, which were much enjoyed by the soldiers. Special donations towards the Benham Ward were received from Mrs. Caine, Sir W. Walton, Mr. Fairhurst, and the hon. sec. Mr. Tufnall sent the proceeds of a week’s Cinema performance, which amounted to £67 17s., and Mrs. C. Ward’s Garden Fete at Burghclere, realised £30 18 s.

During August the War Office transferred the distribution of soldiers from Tidworth to Reading. The Berkshire Branch of the British Red Cross Society asked us to receive paralysed soldiers for special treatment in the hospital: this was willingly agreed to, and also the promise of two beds to be allotted for that purpose. A very important service that the Hospital is doing just now, is the treatment of discharged soldiers sent to them by the Military War Pensions Committee, who have appointed Dr. Heywood as their medical referee.

Annual General Meeting held at The Newbury District Hospital on Friday April 19th 1918: Newbury District Hospital minute book (D/H4/3/2)

The clear, brave notes of the “Last Post” are heard again

There was news of a number of men from Burghfield.

THE WAR

Honours and Promotions

Captain Richard P Bullivant of the Mill House (County of London Yemanry) has been awarded the Military Cross for good service in Palestine, particularly in connection with the charge of dismounted Yeomanry near Jerusalem.

Mr George D Lake of Brookfield has received his commission as 2nd Lieutenant after OTC training, and is to join his unit (ASC, MT) in France on 1st March.

Ernest Wise (2/4th Royal Berks) has been made Provost-Sergeant of the Battalion.

Casualties

B Hutchins (2/4th Royal Berks), wounded, a second time.

Discharge

A C Lovelock (ASC, MT), ill health, Feb 1918.

Obituary Notice

Lance-Corporal R T Montagu (see last month’s magazine). Mr Montagu has received a letter from the captain of his son’s Company containing the words –

“Your son was in my platoon before I took over the command of the Company, and I gave him his lance stripe. He was a thoroughly good fellow, and a really fine soldier. The Company has lost a good man, and he will be greatly missed.”

He appears to have been killed by a shell while out on patrol early on the morning of the 8th January.

The death of Ernest Goddard is recorded with regret. He died at home on 12th February. He was called up from Reserve at outbreak of war, and posted to the 1st Royal Berks. Wounded in October 1915, he lost his right arm, and was discharged in June 1916. We all sympathize with his father and the family. The Depot of the Regiment sent a bearer party with a corporal and a bugler to his funeral on the 16th February; and the clear, brave notes of the “Last Post” were heard again in our quiet churchyard.

Burghfield parish magazine, March 1918 (D/EX725/4)

The spiritual needs of our soldiers on their return from the war, redux

Dr Underhill’s talk on the church’s offerings to returning soldiers was making its rounds.

ST PETER’S, FURZE PLATT

On February 26th, Dr Underhill very kindly came to Furze Platt, and read us an interesting paper on “Some ways by which the Church could meet the spiritual needs of our soldiers on their return from the war”, and it was hoped that there would have been a discussion and many suggestions made; but though the world may not realise it, St Peter’s folks are very shy, and occasionally even diffident, so very few people ventured to make any remarks!

Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, April 1918 (D/P181/28A/27)

Drawing on the nation’s too limited wool supply

By this point in the war 10 Berkshire policemen who were serving at the Front had been killed. Closer to home, demand for army uniforms was monopolising the nation’s wool supply. Most men’s outdoor clothing was based on woven woollen cloth, which was warm and waterproof.

6 October 1917
Clothing for 1918

The Acting Chief Constable has received the following letter from Messrs Titley, Son & Price, whose tender for the supply of clothing for the year 1918 has been accepted.

19, Cheap Street, Bath
13th Sept. 1917

Dear Sir

When we tendered for 1918 overcoats, something serviceable at old prices, we anticipated some difficulty but this has been increased by the few men, on the two lists we have received, who are doing without them. We calculated that we might obtain sufficient material to supply about half your force; and in the state of the wool market, which as you know is practically commandeered for military requirements, we do not see how we can fill more than that. We have plenty of blue to enable us to offer Capes, Serges, or Trousers in lieu, without drawing on the nation’s too limited wool supply. Could you kindly, at the next pay day, help us by causing to be discovered if there are not a large number of men with overcoats sufficiently new to enable the exchange to be made.

Yours obediently in all commands
Titley, Son & Price.

The Committee recommend that the Acting Chief Constable be empowered in all cases where the Superintendents report that the great coats now in the possession of the men are serviceable and likely to last until the next issue in 1920, to issue capes, serges or trousers in lieu thereof, or to grant, as compensation, £1.1s.0d on the understanding that in the event of a man’s coat not lasting until the issue in 1920, he shall repay an amount in proportion to the period unexpired.

Constables killed in action

I regret to report the death on active service of the following Police Constables, viz PC 111 Raymond E. Offer, PC 119 Charles Warman, PC 213 Arthur Frank Wheatcroft and PC 82 George William Bennett.

PC 111 Offer died on 20 July 1917 from wounds received in action, and PCs 119 Warman, 213 Wheatcroft and 82 Bennett were killed in action on 1 August, 16 August and 8 September respectively.

All four were unmarried, and so far as I am aware had no one dependent on them for support. Bennett joined the force on 1st January 1907.

This makes 10 Constables who have lost their lives during the war.

PCs 80 Pill and 41 Vile have rejoined the Force, the former on 1 September and the latter on 24 September.

Berkshire County Council and Quarter Sessions: Standing Joint Committee minutes (C/CL/C2/1/5)

Meeting the needs of sailors and soldiers on demobilisation

The County Council – like many others across the country – was giving some thought to what the country could offer the men who had served the country once they had returned home for good. Offering land to set up as small farmers was one proposal.

LOANS

A letter has been received from the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries stating that the President has been in communication with the Treasury with a view to securing some relaxation of the existing restrictions on the issue of loans from the Local Loans Fund to County Councils … in view of a strong desire on the part of many County Councils to prepare schemes for providing holdings for meeting the needs of sailors and soldiers on demobilisation…

CONVERSION OF PASTURE

Applications have been received from the Berks War Agricultural Committee for the Council’s consent as owners to certain pasture land being converted to arable.

Berkshire County Council: Smallholdings and Allotments Committee report, 3 October 1917 (C/CL/C1/1/20)

Some disabled ex-soldiers are refusing to work

Berkshire County Council found the war coming close to home when its Deputy Clerk, who had joined the army soon after the start of the war, was reported killed. Meanwhile they had begun to tackle the problem of those men who had returned home from the front with a permanent disability as a result of wounds. How might they be retrained?

DEATH OF THE DEPUTY CLERK

Resolved on the motion of the Chairman [James Herbert Benyon]: That a vote of condolence be forwarded to the widow of Lieut-Col H U H Thorne in her bereavement, and that it be accompanied by an expression of the great loss sustained by the Council in the untimely, though gallant, death in action of their Deputy Clerk.

Report of the Berkshire War Pensions Committee

The War Pensions Committee commenced their work on the 1 October, 1916.

The County, in accordance with the Scheme arranged by the County Council, has been divided into twelve Sub-committees, being, for the main part, one Sub-committee for each petty sessional division; but there have been certain adjustments, for the convenience of working, between the divisions of Wokingham and Easthampstead, while the Lambourn division has been divided between Wantage and Newbury division, with the exception of the parish of Lambourn itself, which is being worked by a Secretary and Treasurer.

Almoners have been appointed for each parish throughout the County, and the Almoners and Sub-committees respectively have had powers given them to deal with all urgent cases of wives and dependants of soldiers and sailors requesting financial assistance, each case being reported to this Committee for approval or revision as the circumstances may require.

During the six months alterations have been made in the amount of the State Separation Allowances and valuable additional powers have been given to the Pensions Committee in the way of making additional grants to meet to some extent the increase in prices, and the work has been now thoroughly organised.

Since the 1 October, 1916, up to the 30 April, 1917, the Finance and General Purposes Sub-committee have dealt with 1326 cases of Advances, Supplementary and Temporary Allowances, Temporary and Emergency Grants, etc. The payments made up to the 30 April, in respect of these Allowances and Grants, amount to a sum of £2299 2s 11d.

In addition to this the Sub-committee have dealt with 33 cases of Supplementary Pensions, which have been recommended to the War Pensions etc Statutory Committee.

The other section of the work of the committee is the very important and constantly increasing work of dealing with discharged and disabled soldiers and sailors. The principle adopted has been that so soon as the notification of the discharge of a man into the county has been received, the particulars are sent down to the Secretary of the Sub-committee in whose district the man proposes to live; enquiries are made in the district as to the man’s physical condition with a view of ascertaining whether he needs further medical treatment or training for some form of employment other than that to which he was accustomed prior to his disablement, and further inquiries to ascertain whether he needs financial assistance of either a temporary or permanent character, other than that provided by his pension, if any.

Considerable difficulty has been found in many cases where men have refused to work for fear of endangering the continuance of their pension, or because they are satisfied to remain as they are for the time being at any rate with the pension that they hold. The new Royal Warrant, however, will considerably strengthen the hands of the committee, as the Ministry of Pensions are entitled to withhold a portion of a pension if a man refuses to undertake treatment which the Pensions Committee, acting on medical advice, consider necessary for him, and the Pensions Committee will be enabled to grant a Separation Allowance for the wife and children where the man is undertaking training, and, further, to pay the man a bonus for each week of a course of training which he has competed to their satisfaction.

The provision of training is a difficult matter, as the necessary organisations are few and far between. In Berkshire the committee have three Schemes in course of formation. (more…)

“We shall all do our best to keep our end up until the happy day when he can once more return”

The leader of the Church Lads’ Brigade in Earley, a wounded soldier, had recovered sufficiently to join the Army Service Corps, while some of the group’s former members had been killed or wounded.

CLB

We are once again – let us hope for only a short time – losing our Adjutant, Captain C J O’Leary, who has joined the MTASC.

Since his discharge after being wounded at the Battle of the Aisne, Captain O’Leary has thrown himself wholeheartedly into the work of the Battalion, as well as working up his own St Peter’s Earley Company to a high state of efficiency, and we shall miss him terribly. Our very best wishes will go with him wherever he may be sent, and we shall all do our best to keep our end up until the happy day when he can once more return to us.

We greatly regret to say that two more of our first members have been killed in action, Leonard Leaver and Charles Bolton, and we would express our deepest sympathy with their relatives in their sorrow. RIP.

We tender our heartiest congratulations on being awarded the Military Medal. As we are going to press we hear that Sergeant Seely is seriously wounded and are anxiously awaiting further news.

Earley St Peter parish magazine, May 1917 (D/P191/28A/24)

An increasing number of discharged soldiers are suffering from tuberculosis

The County Council’s Public Health and Housing Committee had to face the problem of men sent home as they had been diagnosed with TB – a very infectious, often fatal illness.

Accommodation at Peppard

The question of providing additional accommodation at Peppard has been raised in view of the increasing number of discharged soldiers suffering from tuberculosis requiring treatment, and a prelimnary inquiry at Peppard, in conjunction with representatives of the Bucks County Council has been suggested.

Military and National Service

The Committee have considered the effect of the new Military Service Act (which provides for the re-examination by the Military Authorities of men discharged from the Army) and of the National Service Scheme, as regards men who have recently suffered from tuberculosis. There appears to be some danger of such men being taken into the Army or sent to unsuitable work, and a communication has been sent to the Local Government Board expressing the hope that the arrangement for not calling up men notified as tuberculous and men discharged from the Army on account of tuberculosis for further military service for a period of three years, would be confirmed – and extended with modifications to National Service.

Report of Public Health and Housing Committee, 14 April 1917 (C/CL/C1/1/20)

Not yet back after his discharge

A Slough school was waiting for a soldier teacher’s return.

November 1st 1916
Miss A Swearer commenced work on supply, Miss Dolby having been transferred to the Infant Dept. and Mr Buck not have re-commenced work after discharge from the Army.

Stoke Road School, Slough: log book (89/SCH/28/1, p. 390)

Blinded soldiers turn to chicken rearing

Berkshire County Council and its committees dealt with several war related matters. One was the registration of the multitude of independent war charities which had sprung up.

Report of School Management Sub-committee, 14 October 1916

HEAD TEACHERS AND MILITARY SERVICE

The following Head Teachers have rejoined the Army since the last meeting: Mr Mills (Childrey), Mr Hunt (Cold Ash), Mr Bird (Priestwood), Mr Andrews (Mortimer St Mary’s) and Mr Verrall (Brimpton). Their places have been filled temporarily by the appointment of the Certificated Assistant (Woman) of their respective schools, or by the transfer of a teacher from another school.

Report of Smallholdings and Allotments Committee, 14 October 1916

COTTAGES AND LAND FOR BLINDED SOLDIERS, &C, FOR POULTRY FARMING

Enquiries were made on behalf of the Blinded Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Hostel, St Dunstan’s, as to whether any assistance could be given in finding locations near Reading for Blinded Soldiers who have been taught chicken rearing. They require a cottage and about an acre of ground at a rent not exceeding £30 per annum.

The agents in the Reading district were asked if they had any suitable properties available, but from the replies received it appeared that no suitable places were available for renting, and only three or four were put forward for sale.

It was stated by St Dunstan’s that at present only leasing could be considered.

Report of the War Charities Committee, 14 October 1916

The following applications for registration under the War Charities Act, 1916, have not been approved, and the Clerk instructed to issue certificates and to notify the Charity Commissioners: (more…)